When Gene Starzenski got out of the Marines in 1970, he went home to Pittsburgh, where he worked as an emergency room orderly, and later an ER technician.
wanted to do more, and the only paramedic program available locally was at Freedom House
applied, but there were no openings.
moved to California, and in 1975 was certified as the 972nd paramedic in Los Angeles County.
Due to his location, Starzenski ended up working for film studios as a paramedic on TV and movie sets.
After retiring, he
wanted to learn more about the history of his
profession, and was shocked that Freedom House
was never mentioned.
knew they had been pioneers: he
had seen them while working in Pittsburgh emergency rooms.
With the original Freedom House paramedics growing older and starting to die off, Starzenski
had to work fast.
In 2009, Starzenski
completed a documentary, Freedom House
: Street Saviors, to tell the story.
documentary at the Colorado State EMS Conference in Keystone, Colo., this weekend, and brought along two of the original Freedom House paramedics to answer questions.
They got a warm and enthusiastic response, even though few in the room had ever heard of Freedom House
is a now-retired studio medic, not a professional film director.
"Young people look at athletes with $30 million contracts as their heroes, but athletes and actors are not the real heroes," Starzenski
won't release it on the Internet, since then it will be pirated and he'll have no chance of getting distribution or recover his
investment to make the film.
Gene Starzenski / Producer Director